Uncategorized Governor's 2011 education agenda

Governor's 2011 education agenda


On Wednesday December 8 Indiana’s Education Roundtable gave it’s approval to measures pushed by Governor Daniels and State Superintendent Tony Bennett. Touted as “rigorous teacher and administrator evaluation systems and accelerated graduation opportunities for high school students.”

Expect to see much debate over all of these proposals as education bills and the state budget bill move through the process, beginning with  public committee hearings in January.

I have always looked at education not as a bipartisan issue, but as a nonpartisan issue… I hope we can put students first,  even before partisanship or politics. Sen. Earline Rogers (D-Gary), Ranking Minority Member of Senate Education Committee

The two proposals, as described in the Dept. of Education’s press release:

…[A]n annual performance review based on measures of content knowledge, instructional skill, classroom management, student academic achievement and leadership effectiveness.

…[A]llowing students who complete the state’s high school diploma requirements by the end of 11th grade to pursue a post-secondary education using state average daily membership funds (ADM) set aside for the 12th grade year.

The early graduation proposal, in particular, has taken criticism for lacking detail. The governor’s plan to pull state funds from schools that help students successfully complete high school early will throw another wrench in the complexity of the school funding formula. Reporter Leslie Stedman captured some of the questions in her Courier-Journal article “Education issue not as simple as it looks“:

For example, would the scholarship be equal to the amount that district would have received for the fourth year of high school? Or would it be the state average cost of educating one student?

That’s important. Per-student funding in Indiana can range from as little as $5,000 to more than $9,000. That means a student in Gary could get substantially more for a scholarship than a student in Borden.

Daniels said his administration hasn’t decided whether the scholarship would equal the state average, the district’s per-student funding or some other number. But that will surely be a huge debate.

So will whether the scholarships can be used only for in-state colleges and whether they should be reserved just for lower-income students. Daniels said the latter might be a good idea, but he hasn’t decided.

Superintendent Bennett also recently called for the elimination of a school funding element known as the “reghoster” – a policy that gradually reduces funds from schools where students are leaving. In his budget request narrative to the State Budget Committee, he said “we should no longer distribute dollars to schools for students they are no longer educating.”

Bennett earlier told the Committee on the School Funding Formula that he supports school vouchers – the use of public funds to pay for students to attend private schools. See an earlier update from interim study committees on education issues>>

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